Johnny Cooney

Johnny was the youngest of the “Cranston Cooneys”, a Rhode Island ballplaying dynasty begun in the 1890s by James Joseph Cooney, whose four sons all played pro ball. Two brothers never got to the majors, but Johnny had two careers. As a pitcher who occasionally played first base or outfield, he had moderate success with the Braves in the 1920s. A sore arm forced him to give up pitching; after a four-year absence from the majors and an American Association batting title, he joined Casey Stengel‘s Dodgers in 1935. Cooney’s best averages as a regular came with the Stengel-managed Braves, .318 in 1940 and .319 in 1941. Stengel later compared Cooney favorably to Joe DiMaggio as a fielder.